The Monastery of St. Catherine, near Mount Sinai in Egypt, where a policeman was killed and four others were wounded on Monday.
Gunmen attacked a checkpoint near the iconic St. Catherine’s Monastery in Sinai, one of the oldest Christian monasteries in the world, killing one police officer and wounding four others on Tuesday evening. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the shooting, according to the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors jihadist communications. Although comparatively small by the standards of the Sinai insurgency, the assault was a relatively rare instance of violence in the southern part of the province, and it came just nine days after Islamic State suicide bombers killed 45 people in attacks on two churches — in Alexandria and Tanta — on Palm Sunday.
In a statement on its Facebook page, Egypt’s Interior Ministry said that gunmen opened fire on the checkpoint with small arms, then fled after coming under fire from Egyptian security forces. The four wounded police officers were taken to a hospital in the nearby Red Sea resort of Sharm el Sheikh. There was no word of any militant casualties. The attack came at a sensitive time in Egypt, just over a week before a planned visit to Cairo by Pope Francis that the Vatican has billed as an opportunity to strengthen ties between Muslim and Christian leaders.
A map showing the location of the monastery on Egypt's Sinai peninsular
St Catherine’s Monastery, which was built in the Sixth Century and sits at the foot of Mount Sinai, is famed throughout history as the spot where Moses received the 10 Commandments. The area is part of a UNESCO World Heritage site and is visited by thousands of tourists and pilgrims every year from the nearby Red Sea resorts. The monastery is part of the Egyptian Orthodox church which has borne the brunt of a surge in Islamic State attacks targeting Christians since December. It was not immediately nclear whether the attack on St Catherine’s was part of the Islamic State’s broader campaign of sectarian bloodshed, or of the localised guerrilla warfare led by the Islamic State’s affiliate in North Sinai. The last major attack in southern Sinai occurred in 2014, when a suicide bomber hit a bus in Taba, on the border with Israel, killing three South Korean tourists and the Egyptian bus driver. But the Islamic State also claimed to have brought down a Russian passenger jet that crashed into the Sinai Desert shortly after takeoff from Sharm el Sheikh in October 2015, killing all 224 people on board
The attack on St. Catherine’s, a Unesco World Heritage site, will be seen as an ominous sign for efforts to revive the area’s floundering tourist industry. Over the past year, Egyptian officials have tried to persuade Russia and Britain to resume flights to Sharm el Sheikh, which stopped in 2015. Zack Gold, a Sinai expert at the Atlantic Council in Washington, said the attack showed that the Islamic State had penetrated deeper into southern Sinai than previously thought possible. “This helps Islamic State in its economic warfare against the state,” he said.
In the Book of Exodus, Moses was forced to flee Egypt and came to live with Jethro. Moses, who shepherded Jethro's flocks, discovered the burning bush while tending the sheep. Moses approached the bush, and discovered that the bush was on fire, but the flames did not consume it. God's spirit, in the bush, then declared "I am your father's God, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob." God then commanded Moses to remove his sandals, as the land was considered holy. God then ordered Moses to speak to Pharaoh, because He had "heard the people's cries". God promised that the Israelites, then enslaved by Pharaoh, would live in a land "flowing with milk and honey". When Moses expressed doubt that he would be believed, God gave Moses three "signs": his staff turned to a snake, his hand turned leprous (and was cured) and Moses was told that if they did not work, he would be able to turn water into blood. God then added that "He would be with him" (Moses), which finally encouraged him to demand the release of the Israelites. Sceptics of the Burning Bush at St Catherine’s Monastery may be swayed by the fact that it’s the only bush of its kind in the entire peninsula and that all attempts to grow cutting from it elsewhere have failed. The bush was moved to its present site when Helena’s chapel was built over its roots, behind the apse of St Catherine’s church. It is still one of the major attractions in the Sinai region for Christian Pilgrimage tours.
It is said to be the place where God spoke to Moses saying “Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt”
There were also some dramatic “goings-on” at the Oxshott Bridge Club last night as 16 full Tables turned up to contest the Final Round of the Tilling Trophy. This is our premier Pairs Competition. Played over Seven Rounds, the prize goes to the Pair that achieves the lowest score from their positions in the “Best Four” Rounds that they play. Coming into this, the Seventh and Final Round, there were still six Pairs in contention and there was great excitement and tension as the evening progressed. You can read all about it in the Report by clicking on the "Competitions" tab in the Menu to the left of this box and again clicking on "Competition News" in the sub-Menu. Alternatively you can study the full Leaderboard and the individual Travellers by clicking on the "Latest Result" button at the top right of this page.
An amazing three Slam contracts achieved by Jonathan Spring & John French enabled them to race up the Leaderboard and take First place in the Tilling Trophy. Their Fourth placing in the Seventh and Final Round meant that they finished with 16 points, two points better than Elisa Money & Mike Mulligan who finished Second with 18 points, with Deanne & Kevin Goddard in Third place with 21 points. You can see all the final placings on the Leaderboard by clicking on the "Competitions" tab in the Menu to the left of this page, and clicking again on the "Tilling Trophy" tab in the sub-Menu. Many congratulations to Jonathan Spring & John French who are our worthy Pairs Champions for 2017.